Alameda

 
Last month we met Charles Minturn and A. A. Cohen and leaned the roles their ferry boats played in our history. In this month’s story, we’ll ride the South Pacific Coast Railroad’s ferry boats — Newark, Garden City, Bay City and Encinal. We’ll also learn the interesting fates of two of these ferries.

 
Alameda's City Council returns from a one-month break next Tuesday to consider a trio of development issues.

The council will consider appeals of the Planning Board's approval of a 100-room hotel on Harbor Bay Parkway and also, final approvals for a 52-unit residential complex that will replace abandoned World War II-era warehouses at 2100 Clement Avenue. City staff will also give council members a report detailing the pros and cons of creating a wetlands mitigation bank at Alameda Point.

When Police Chief Paul Rolleri was hired as an officer for the Alameda Police Department, in 1992, he competed with nearly 500 other test takers for the same job.

“It was almost like winning the lottery if you got in,” Rolleri said.

Today, though, he might only see 100 to 125 applications come across his desk – and not all of those are from qualified people, he said.

The department has advertised open police officer positions for months, and Rolleri said the department hasn't been fully staffed for five years.

Photo by Patti Cary.

With classic charm and skill, the talented members of Period Events & Entertainment Re-creation Society (PEERS) have been spreading their special kind of magic throughout the Bay Area for decades. Dedicated to education through historical re-creation, PEERS is a nonprofit organization that firmly believes art is something you do, not just watch.

Photo by Jenn Heflin.

Bubble Farm Soap Co. is all about the bees. As the name implies, the company’s line of soaps –made by hand with beeswax and an assortment of essential oils – is the heart of the business.

The company’s retail location, which opened last October on Central Avenue, is approaching its first anniversary, and it seems Islanders have already accepted the shop as an Alameda treasure.

Schools leaders seeking state seismic repair funds for fixing Historic Alameda High are in a race against time.

Of the original, $10.4 billion in school construction and modernization bonds California voters authorized when they approved Proposition 1D in 2006, only $96 million remains for projects like the repairs contemplated for the historic high school, much of which was fenced off due to longstanding seismic safety issues. So school district staffers and the district's architect, Quattrochi Kwok Architects, are working quickly in an attempt to secure funding that will supplement the Measure I bond.

Alameda's administrative services director is heading to Tracy.

Stephanie Garrabrant-Sierra is leaving the Island for an assistant city manager's post in Tracy. She starts work in that city on September 1.

The city brought Garrabrant-Sierra on as an assistant city attorney in June 2012. In November 2013 it elevated her to the position of administrative services director, putting her in charge of contracting, purchasing, human resources and information technology. She has also advised the city on collective bargaining issues with its labor unions.

The job was created by former City Manager John Russo as part of a restructuring effort at City Hall.

Photo by Eric Braun.

A cast of nearly 70 local youths will offer a production of Seussical The Musical this weekend.

The show, based on the books and characters of children's author Theodor Geisel - a.k.a. Dr. Seuss - is presented by the popular local children's theater group Tomorrow Youth Repertory and directed by Amy Marie Haven.

Residents at the Atlantic Apartments were among the celebrants of National Night Out. Photo by Cassie Paton.

Residents who gathered at 20 locations throughout the City of Alameda on Tuesday were among the nearly 38 million people celebrating National Night Out.

Now in its 31st year, National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that takes place across the country, in U.S. territories, some Canadian cities, and military bases around the world. Its purpose is to unite communities and promote stronger relationships between residents and police.

Local author Denby Montana – a.k.a. Owen Mould – is a man of adventure. Having “hitchhiked north to south in this country,” gathered experiences in a slew of different odd jobs and earned a masters degree in creative writing, he seeks to “restore a sense of humanity” in his work. In his new novel, Mule Sonata, Montana writes about the history of Alta California, intertwining the stories of three families from the beginning of time. He recently answered questions from The Alamedan about what prompted him to write the book; an edited Q&A is below. Meanwhile, Montana’s new book is available online.